"Something inside me has always been there, but now it's awake."
When Rian Johnson’s second act to the Star Wars sequel trilogy made its way to large audiences for the first time, fans were surprised at the risks the director took in a universe so familiar and beloved by so many people. The story showed us all that Star Wars can change, and that change is not always bad.
The much-anticipated sequel to The Force Awakens expanded upon a familiar story we had all come to know and love. Our hero, having fled the desert of her past to embark on a dangerous quest now sought the guidance of a Jedi Master thought to be nothing more than a legend.
But it did not end the way anyone expected it to end. The death of Han Solo was still a freshly healing wound by the time the last Jedi Master gave up his life to save the Resistance. And this is just one of many moments throughout the film we can’t help but watch over and over again.
Even though we can now stream our favorite Star Wars films whenever we see fit, one can only rewatch the same movie so many times before the mind becomes desperate for more stories. Deeper dives into various characters. Expansion. More context. More mythology. More lore.
As is often the case in the fast-paced, time-restricted art of filmmaking, Star Wars often leans on expanded universe material to round out its characters and provide added significance to the events that occur throughout the movie. The Last Jedi is no exception.
If the story of The Last Jedi leaves you wanting more, there are many books already out there that both lead into and directly follow the story of Rey’s journey toward self-discovery, Kylo Ren’s further descent into darkness, and Luke Skywalker’s triumphant return to his connection with the Force. Here are a few you might be interested in.
Jason Fry gets the honor of continuing Star Wars’s rich history with novel adaptation. In particular, his novelization shines in adding additional material to enhance the story in written form, such as Luke’s Force vision introduction and re-insterting deleted scenes from the film–even Rey’s third lesson! The novel allows us to get an inside look at certain characters such as BB-8 during the space battle over D’qar. Reading the novel of Episode Eight will allow you to soak up the story like never before, taking your time with the characters and getting the story from all-new perspectives.
The Force Awakens introduced Star Wars fans to a new kind of villain -- a female stormstrooper commanding her troops behind reflective chrome armor. Through the end of the film, Captain Phasma remained mostly a mystery. Who was she? Where did she come from? And why did she look different than all the other stormtroopers?
Delilah S. Dawson managed to answer all of our burning questions about this antagonist in her adult novel, Phasma. Throughout the book, readers learn the ruthless extremes the character takes in order to survive, and how she finds herself among the high ranks of the First Order, despite never having heard of them before.
Part of the publishing program in preparation for The Last Jedi, Canto Bight comprises four novellas focusing on various characters in the casino city to be featured in the film. This book, while not essential for viewing The Last Jedi as opposed to other
Saladin Ahmed wrote his first Star Wars story, “Rules of the Game.” It sees Kedpin Shoklop, the unassuming red-skinned cyclops-like Wermal character from the film, on vacation to Cantonica but who quickly ends up in a mess of trouble.
Mira Grant’s one and only Star Wars story, “The Wine in Dreams” where mysterious sisters attempt a heist for a priceless bottle of wine for their deep-pocketed master.
Up-and-coming Star Wars writer, Rae Carson (Most Wanted, Rise of Skywalker novelization), writes “Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing.” The story is about Lexo Sooger, Canto Bight’s finest masseur, who has access to secrets of his prestigious clients. A notorious gangster kidnaps his daughter in demand for the secrets he desires.
Finally, renowned writer John Jackson Miller lends his experience to the stable of writers with “The Ride.” He focuses on a professional gambler named Kal who falls on hard times until he meets three frog-like lucky gambling brothers, Dodi, Thodi, and Wodi.
Cobalt Squadron tells the story of the Resistance's crack bomber pilots and technicians, including sisters Rose and Paige Tico, survivors of a world overrun by the First Order. Encountering another family on the run, the sisters undertake a mission to provide emergency aid to the Alterra system. Outwitting the First Order and helping people in need will take all of their ingenuity, bravery, and teamwork.
Cobalt Squadron overlaps the events of The Force Awakens and establishes the back-story for the Tico sisters. Many readers will find it helps deepen their appreciation for Paige and Rose as we see them on screen in The Last Jedi. In particular, it adds weight to Rose's sense of loss and her deepening sense of resolve through the film.
In keeping with Alderaanian tradition, Princess Leia undergoes her Day of Demand, where she claims her right as heir to the throne and determines how she will prove herself worthy. Yet things have been tense between her and her adopted parents, Queen Breha and Viceroy Bail Organa. As Leia - also a member of the Empire's Apprentice Legislature - undertakes her challenges of the Body, Mind, and Spirit, she learns more about her adoptive parents than she ever suspected and begins her own journey that will forever change the galaxy.